Bedtime is a complete burden at our house. When 8 o'clock rolls around I literally know the next two hours of my life will be spent trying to convince my two year old to sleep.
Last night while I was busy on the bedtime battlefield I started to reflect on how I got here. Then I remembered that it didn’t happen over night. This is two years of giving in to my toddler‘s cries and screams for “Mommy” once I’ve already put him in his crib. The screams mixed with my pure exhaustion is the perfect storm of bedtime terror to make me revert to my old ways. Ways that I would advise you to avoid at all costs.
Co-Sleeping: My first mistake was NOT listening to others moms (my mother included) when they suggested not to co-sleep. I originally thought co-sleeping was a good idea because I was nursing and too tired to go back and forth from our bedroom to the nursery. In reality that just created a very complicated dynamic for our nighttime routine. My son became dependent on me being near him to fall asleep and it went downhill from there. Co-sleeping led me to my next rookie mistake.
Climbing into the crib: After co-sleeping I was so desperate for him to get out of our bed that I started climbing in the crib with him for him to fall asleep there. I’m not going to lie it worked for about 5 months. Then daylight savings time hit and we were on to our next bedtime battle.
Suggested bedtime schedule: The one thing I was proud of was our bedtime schedule. That was solid until the time changed. Then it seem like I couldn't even get him in his room at bedtime. What was once a strict bedtime turned into more of a suggestion. This lasted for about two weeks and there was no going back. I really cant blame him. Daylight savings time throws me off too. But I miss the days of him being asleep by 8:30pm.
Making bedtime mom only: This one is my own fault. Once I felt Like I had our son on a bedtime routine I wouldn‘t ask my husband to put him down. Little did I know that meant I’d be the only one putting him to sleep every night per our son's request. Arguing with your toddler every night gets old and can be a real mood killer.
Where have all of these sleep training “techniques“ gotten me you ask? Back at square one. As I type this our son is laying between my husband and I. It's 11:04pm. I’ve been trying to put him down since 9pm. He laid in his toddler bed for an hour while I sat on the floor next to him close enough to hold hands. When I tried to get up to use the bathroom all hell broke loose. I have a laundry list
of things to take care of before I can head off to dream land and I’m planning to pick him up once he’s asleep and put him in his room. We will see how that goes. Wish me luck!
Tonight is different. In the midst of him tossing and turning I’ve realized that although bedtime is a burden it’s also a blessing. Bedtime gives me one more opportunity to soak up the cuddles and collect the kisses. To share stories and learn new words. Because
just as the days are long they pass by quickly. He lays on me and finds comfort and security and I’m reminded once more that have it all isn’t always having it all together.